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Trudeau announces additional fund for medical research on COVID-19

As of Thursday afternoon, there were more than 41,752 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country and 2,141 deaths.

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Justin Trudeau

Ottawa, April 24 : Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced to allot additional 1.1 billion Canadian dollars (about US $782 million) for national medical research against the COVID-19.

“The better we understand this virus, its spread and its impact on different people, the better we can fight it and eventually defeat it,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Ottawa on Thursday, reported Xinhua news agency.

The fund is divided into three components: 115 million Canadian dollars (about US $81 million) for research into vaccines and treatments being developed in hospitals and universities; 662 million Canadian dollars (US $472 million) for clinical trials in Canada and 350 million Canadian dollars (US $248 million) to expand national testing and modelling for COVID-19.

The additional fund is meant to support previous efforts by the Trudeau government to marshal Canada’s medical community in the battle against COVID-19.

In mid-March, it provided 275 million Canadian dollars (about US $194 million) for medical research. It announced the creation of a new strategic innovation fund to allot another 192 million Canadian dollars (roughly US $136 million) to specific companies and research institutions working on new drugs and vaccines.

At the news conference, Trudeau also announced the creation of a new COVID-19 immunity task force focused on serology testing to determine if someone has been exposed to the virus already.

The COVID-19 immunity task force will include a series of Canada’s top doctors and will focus on blood testing to track and understand immunity to the novel coronavirus.

Trudeau said testing is key to the fight against COVID-19 and 20,000 tests are carried out in Canada every day. “Testing must increase even further before we can reopen and restart our normal activities as a country.”

“We know it may be a long while before a vaccine. There are discussions around treatments for COVID-19 that might work as well as a vaccine,” he said.

This new fund comes one day after Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said that rapid testing to detect and trace the virus’ spread will be essential to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tam said Canada needs to triple the number of COVID-19 tests being conducted daily in order to reach desired target of 60,000 tests a day.

To date, more than 620,000 people in Canada have been tested for COVID-19, according to CTV.

Some provinces like Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island where the virus’ spread appears to be minimal are planning to loosen some restrictions for businesses and service in early May.

“In the coming months we will be able to loosen a number of the restrictions and rules that we have right now,” he said.

As of Thursday afternoon, there were more than 41,752 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country and 2,141 deaths.

Health

Health Outreach Services during Covid-19

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Anganwadi Healths Outreach

New Delhi: The Government has been regularly reviewing the situation in consultation with States/UTs. In order to improve the nutritional status of Women and Children, Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing Supplementary Nutrition Programme under Anganwadi Services and Scheme for Adolescent Girls under the Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme to children (6 months to 6 years), Pregnant Women, Lactating Mothers and out-of-school Adolescent Girls (11-14 years).

As per the directions issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, under Disaster Management Act, 2005, all the Anganwadi Centres across the country were closed to limit the impact of COVID-19. However, to ensure continuous nutritional support to Anganwadibeneficiaries, Anganwadi Workers and Helpers have been distributing supplementary Nutrition at the doorsteps of the beneficiaries. Further, this Ministry has issued necessary directions to the States/UTs to ensure distribution of food items and nutrition support by Anganwadi workers, once in 15 days, at the doorstep of beneficiaries. In addition, Anganwadi Workers and Anganwadi Helpers have been assisting the local administration in community surveillance, creating awareness or other works assigned to them from time to time.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued the guidance note on “Provision of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) services during & post COVID-19 Pandemic” with States and UTs which states that campaign mode services such as – mass Vitamin a prophylaxis, campaigns for Intensified Diarrhea Control Fortnight (IDCF), National Deworming Day (NDD) and Anemia can be provided on an alternative mechanism like through home delivery of essential services & commodities etc. based on local situations. The continuation of outreach services through modified VHSNDs and Home visits by health workers was recommended in area beyond buffer zone and green zone. The activities in the containment and buffer zone were recommended through the routine visits of COVID workers. Essential medicine like IFA, ORS, calcium and Zinc are home delivered in containment zones. Specific guidance notes on the provision of the outreach services with all States and UTs to ensure continuity of essential outreach services has been issued and Webinars on implementation of outreach services related to Anemia, Nutrition Rehabilitation Centers (NRCs), Special Newborn Care Units (SNCUs), Diarrhoea prevention, NDD and IYCF practices etc have been organized.

This information was given in a written reply by the Union Minister of Women and Child DevelopmentSmt. Smriti Zubin Irani in Lok Sabha today.

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Mandatory daily antigen test for reporters, Parliament staff

Journalists covering the Monsoon session from press galleries of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha also have the option to undergo the RT-PCR test which is valid for 72 hours.

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Parliament

New Delhi: Amid fresh cases of coronavirus among MPs, reporters and parliamentary staff entering the Parliament complex will have to undergo mandatory antigen test on a daily basis, according to a new protocol put in place.

Members of both Houses are undergoing RT-PCR test on regular intervals on a voluntary basis, said a senior Parliament official.

A member of Parliament can undergo RT-PCR test as many times he or she likes.

Journalists covering the Monsoon session from press galleries of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha also have the option to undergo the RT-PCR test which is valid for 72 hours.

Since the report of the much reliable RT-PCR takes time, antigen test has been made mandatory on a daily basis.

Government officials accompanying their respective ministers during bill discussions also have to show a negative report of RT-PCR test taken within the last 72 hours of their visit to the complex. – PTI

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Rajya Sabha passes Homoeopathy Bills

The DMK MP T. Siva said, “The government is taking away the powers of the states”, and alleged that its diluting the federalism.

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Homoeopathy

New Delhi, Sep 18 : The Rajya Sabha on Friday passed two Bills — the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

Replying during the discussion on the Bills, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, “The Ordinance was necessitated as Parliament was not in session.”

The Minister said that Yoga and Naturopathy will also be promoted in due course, as demanded by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Manoj Jha.

During the discussion, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Prasanna Acharya supported the Bill, but questioned the need for the ordinance. He said only in extraordinary situations the ordinance route should be adopted.

Speaking on the Bill, BJP MP Sudhanshu Trivedi said that new things are always opposed first, but during covid times homeopathy medicine was prescribed as an immunity booster.

Samajwadi Party (SP) member Ram Gopal Yadav asked the government not to delay the constitution of the commission as homoeopathy is a necessity for the poor as allopathy is costly and in covid times private hospitals are charging more than Rs one lakh per day.

The DMK MP T. Siva said, “The government is taking away the powers of the states”, and alleged that its diluting the federalism.

The Bill brought by the Centre amends the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973. After becoming an Act, the Central Council of Homoeopathy will regulate homeopathic education and practice.

The Bill replaces the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 which was promulgated on April 24, 2020. The period for the supersession of the Central Council — The 1973 Act — was amended in 2018 to provide for the supersession of the Central Council of Homoeopathy. The Central Council was required to be reconstituted within one year from the date of its supersession.

This period was amended in 2019 to require the reconstitution of the Central Council in two years. The central government constituted a Board of Governors to exercise the powers of the Central Council.

The Bill amends the Act to increase the period for the supersession of the Central Council from two years to three years.

The resolution moved by K. C. Venugopal, E. Kareem and K. K.Ragesh was defeated. But Ragesh raised a point of order for the right to reply as the mover of the resolution and asked about the role of the state governments in this Bill.

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